The increasing cost of prescription drugs in the United States has become a source of growing concern for patients, prescribers, payers, and policy makers. A new study examined the reasons for these high prices and also suggests policy changes that could help contain costs.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital reviewed the medical and health policy literature on prescription drug prices in the U.S. and found high drug costs stem from various factors such as market exclusivity, limitations on payers and their ability to negotiate prices, and limitations on competition.

The researchers state that the most realistic short-term strategies include enforcing stricter requirements for exclusivity rights, ensuring timely generic drug availability, providing greater opportunities for price negotiation by patients, and effectively educating patients, prescribers, payers, and policy makers about these choices.